After two years on the Young Eventers Programme, the Windrush Equestrian Foundation bid farewell to the class of 2019-21, as they welcomed three new bright, young, stars of eventing who have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to train with one of the most decorated athletes in equestrian sport – Pippa Funnell – as part of the 2021 programme.
The Windrush Equestrian Foundation offers young eventers educational, business and welfare support, alongside mentoring and coaching from the one and only Pippa Funnell. This year, the programme has extended to two years and raised the upper age limit to 28. 2021 saw double the number of applications from previous years, leaving the selection panel, including Pippa Funnell, Alice Fox-Pitt, Yogi Breisner and the Foundation’s board members.
Kristina Hall-Jackson (25, from Yorkshire)
Kristina has produced horses from unbroken 3-year-olds to 4* level and has just gained her 5* qualification with CMS Google with the aim to complete her first 5* in the 2022 season, with Badminton being the main goal. Her aims are to compete successfully on a Nations Cup and Senior team with the Olympics being the dream.
Selected for Team GBR at 17 years of age, she has been riding since 18 months old. Competitions started with Pony Club, moving to Working Hunter Ponies, then at age 14 experiencing the thrill of cross-country. Her 14hh working hunter pony changed careers and was campaigned at Pony Trials in their first season together they finished 5th at the National pony championships. Very fortunate to be given the ride on Lemington Lets Dance from Judy Bradwell they were selected for Team GBR at the Junior Europeans in 2014 finishing 17th with a double clear.
Kristina commented, “Being selected onto the Windrush Equestrian programme is a huge honour and will give me the skills to be a successful event rider long term. This programme will be the key to having a successful business enabling me to ride at the top level of our sport and I feel extremely lucky to have Pippa as a mentor”
Emma Thomas (22, from Warwickshire)
Emma became interested in eventing after watching Opposition Buzz go cross-country at Badminton. It looked incredibly exciting, and she decided it was the sport for her! Emma began in the Warwickshire Hunt Pony Club, eventually going on to win the Open Show Jumping Championships at Hickstead and the Open Eventing Championships individually. Emma also represented team Central for three years in a row at the U18 National Championships. The support from the team staff there was invaluable, guiding her through her first long formats wonderfully.
In the past few years, she has produced a couple of horses right the way through to Advanced and CCI4* level, whilst at the same time completing a demanding science degree. Emma deferred her Masters’ place, at university, to pursue her eventing career via the Windrush Equestrian programme.
Emma commented, “It means so much to have been accepted. The opportunities offered by the programme are incredible and could really propel my eventing career to the next level. I’m so excited to get started”
Of the support offered by Toggi Emma Said:
“I am completely in love with my Toggi lofty jacket. It is very warm and protective from the elements whilst remaining light and unobtrusive when I’m riding. The fit is also very flattering and smart. It has definitely become part of my daily winter wear!”
Harry Mutch (24, from Tyne and Wear)
Harry is currently running a string of 8 event horses ranging from 4-year-olds to CCI5* level, dedicating his time and efforts in building his eventing business around him.
Harry got into Eventing from going to watch at Burghley shortly after he first started riding and 8 years later, he completed Badminton CCI5*. To date his career highlight is finishing 2nd at Barroca CCI4*L in Portugal, and completing two CCI5*’s. In the future Harry would like to aim to compete on Nations Cup teams, which hopefully lead to Senior team selection and being successful at CCI5* level.
Since their selection at the end of September, the inductees have had a busy start to the programme with an induction day at Hothorpe House, the new BS HQ, where the Champion team joined them to get the three riders fully kitted out in safety wear. Followed by a visit to Surrey, earlier this month, for a three-day education session focusing on media skills, health and fitness, legal advice and culminating with a day riding Pippa Funnell’s horses, with course builder Eric Winter.
Harry commented, “I’m so excited and grateful to have been picked for the programme. It feels like it has come at the perfect time for me in my career as a young rider, I can’t wait to start working with the team at the Windrush Foundation”.
Of the support offered by Toggi he said: “The defender waterproof jacket has to be my favourite jacket while riding, it’s light and airy so you don’t get too hot in it riding all day but while riding out in bad weather it keeps you warm and dry so is the perfect balance.”
The Foundation’s riders will receive mentoring and in-depth training from one of the world’s most decorated eventing riders, Pippa Funnell, along with former Team GBR World Class Performance Manager, Yogi Breisner. The programme also covers topics such as veterinary, rider fitness, business and economics, communication and media management, nutrition and mental health. The riders will also have the opportunity to join the Young Riders Academy at the hugely prestigious Geneva International Horse Show and at Franklin University in Switzerland.
For more information on the Windrush Foundation, visit windrushfoundation.org.uk